Direct flights to boost investment

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 February, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 February, 1993, 12:00am

XIAMEN is counting on closer business contacts with Taiwan as it believes direct flights will start next year, the China Daily reports.

''Direct flights will start before the end of 1994,'' said Mr Zhang Zongxu, deputy mayor of Xiamen. ''It is economically beneficial for both sides. We are a big market and those who have come have already made money here.'' To attract more foreign investment and take care of those who work there, Xiamen wants to create a better business climate. In the next three years, the city's main priority will be to develop infrastructure.

''To change the investment climate, we want to concentrate on the infrastructure until the end of the present five-year plan in 1995,'' Mr Zhang said. ''We do our best to help those who have come to make money.'' Although the city recently changed its mayor the development strategies and investment climate would follow the same policies, he said.

Plans for improving the infrastructure include upgrading the airport, involving a 700 million yuan (about HK$943 million) investment, financed by local funds and a Kuwaiti loan.

Xiamen Airlines is investing 100 million yuan in the project by 1994.

Other projects include harbour construction, financed by a World Bank loan, water supply development with Japanese loans and upgrading the communication system.

Xiamen is also investing in the highway network, with an expressway planned between Fuzhou and Xiamen as a first step.

''The contract for the project has not been signed, but the most likely candidate is a Japanese company,'' Mr Zhang said.

Xiamen will also redevelop its old town to ensure a better working climate, he added.

The project aims to increase office space and residential development.

Xiamen had experienced an upsurge in housing construction, but according to Zhang, sales so far have not met with any difficulties. He added that there was no immediate danger of over-development, Mr Zhang said.

''The new developments are sold to overseas Chinese, their relatives [living in Xiamen], to business people and to owners of [local] private businesses,'' he said.

Xiamen's main group of investors is Taiwanese, followed by Hongkong-Macau. Large investments also come from Japan and South Korea.

''In the last two years, Malaysians have come to study the [business] situation,'' Mr Zhang added.